Apr 17, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

plea deal

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11Man, 75, Arrested for Drugs, Prostitution Ring at Senior Citizens Home, Gets Plea Deal

James Parham, 75, was arrested earlier this year for allegedly using drugs and running a prostitution ring from a senior citizen housing complex in Englewood, N.J.

According to police, Parham (pictured) confessed to providing prostitutes to some younger neighbors from the Tibbs Senior Citizen Building, which is owned by the Englewood Housing Authority.

However, he avoided jail by pleading guilty on Oct. 17 to possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a nuisance for purposes of engaging in unlawful conduct, noted the Associated Press.

Parham is banned from any home owned by the Englewood Housing Authority and ordered to pay $1,500 in fines.

“All in all, I think it was a fair plea,” Englewood Detective Capt. Tim Torell told NorthJersey.com. “Hopefully he’s getting the help he needs.”

According to Capt. Torell, Parham was accepted into an assisted living facility in upstate New York.

Parham, Cheryl Chaney (a 66-year-old neighbor) and Selma McDuffie (a school crossing guard) were arrested back in May.

Residents were reportedly afraid to come out of their apartments, which prompted an undercover investigation and 24-hour police patrols.

Chaney pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia as did McDuffie, who is allowed to apply for a drug intervention program to get the crime off her record.

Sources: NorthJersey.com and Associated Press

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11Kaitlyn Hunt, The Florida Teen Arrested For Same-Sex Relationship with Underage Girlfriend, Accepts New Plea Deal

Kaitlyn Hunt, the Florida teenager who was arrested for having sex with her underage girlfriend, has just accepted a plea deal.

Nineteen-year-old Hunt, who was 18 at the time she was charged, was in a sexual relationship with another girl at her high school, who was 14 at the time. The 14-year-old’s parents found out about the relationship and had Hunt expelled from school and arrested. After many months of legal drama, Hunt has now accepted a proposed plea deal that Opposing Views reported on back in August.

The deal will consist of a number of different factors. Hunt will plead no contest to five charges, including two counts of misdemeanor battery, misdemeanor contributing to the dependency of a child, and two counts of felony interference with child custody. Hunt will serve four months in jail, followed by two years of house arrest, and finally nine months of probation. After losing her last plea deal in August by violating a court order not to be in contact with the victim, Hunt has been in jail attempting to get a new deal.

Prosecutor Brian Workman says that the deal is as fair as it’s going to be, considering all the circumstances.

“I believe this is a fair and balanced offer that protects the victim,” said Workman, “while giving Ms. Hunt the ability to avoid the most severe consequences of her crimes by demonstrating that no further punishment is necessary.”

The case garnered national media attention after Hunt’s parents and lawyers claimed that the only reason the 14-year-old girl’s parents pressed charges was because they believed Hunt turned their daughter into a lesbian. Hunt’s parents and lawyers believe that had Hunt have been a male, this would never have happened.

“They are out to destroy my daughter, because they feel like she ‘made’ their daughter gay,” said Hunt’s mother back in May. “They see being gay as wrong and they blame my daughter. Of course, I see it 100 percent differently. I don’t see or label these girls as gay. They are teenagers in high school experimenting with their sexuality — with mutual consent. And even if their daughter is gay, who cares? She is still their daughter.”

Still, the court maintains that it has nothing to do with the fact that Hunt is gay, but everything to do with the fact that the victim was only 14-years-old, and Hunt was 18.

Hunt’s attorney Julia Graves released a statement announcing the acceptance of the plea deal. That statement is below.

Kaitlyn Hunt is accepting the plea deal in her best interest as well as that of her family, the “victim” and the “victim’s” family.  It is time to enter a plea given the current state of the law and get back to living a somewhat normal life without fear of the unknown for everyone involved.  There is too much risk in trying the case when the State, particularly Mr. Workman has willingly worked with defense counsel to obtain this negotiated plea.  Kaitlyn is giving up many rights by entering the plea.  Not only does she relinquish her legal rights to a trial and requiring the State to prove their case, but she also gives up the opportunity for her supporters as well as her detractors to see and hear any testimony or evidence.

We are hoping to put the litigation behind.  We are concerned about the civil litigation continuing with the attorneys for the “victim’s” family for monetary damages but nothing in a civil suit affects the plea we are accepting or causes any violations.  Nonetheless, Kaitlyn is going to move on with her life and follow the conditions of her community control and probation imposed by the Court.  The next task upon her release from incarceration is to work with supporters and lawmakers toward a change in the law for teenagers attending the same school, no matter what their sexual orientation is.  Together, we intend to be available to help educate the students attending our schools and their parents, as well as the teachers and administration that are unaware of these laws and the severe consequences they can carry.  Kaitlyn, her family, friends and supporters never want to see another teenager in this kind of situation. Kaitlyn is particularly grateful to her entire family for their nonstop love and support as well as the many well-wishers and supporters around the globe.

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11Shellie Zimmerman Gets Probation For Lying During George Zimmerman’s Bond Hearing Last Year

In order to a avoid a felony conviction, George Zimmerman’s wife pleaded on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of perjury and was sentenced to serve one year of probation. Shellie Zimmerman was accused of lying during one of her husband's bond hearings last year when she supposedly told a judge that the couple had no money. At the time, the couple had received more than $130,000 in donations from Internet donors who wanted to help with George’s legal fees.

Prosecutors alleged that the two talked about the donations in code during phone calls while George was in jail after being charged with killing Trayvon Martin. The recordings have George on tape instructing Shellie to "pay off all the bills," including an American Express and Sam's Club card.

Shellie did not apologize in court but she did write an apology to Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester, the judge to whom she was accused of lying, CBS News reported.

"By lying under oath, I let my God down, I let your Honor and the court down, I let my family and my friends down, and most of all, I let myself down," she wrote. "In the future, no matter what the consequences, I will tell the truth because in the end all you have is your integrity." The letter was a requirement of her plea deal.

When asked why George was not present in court for his wife's plea hearing Wednesday, defense attorney Kelly Sims only responded, "That's an excellent question."

Shellie will be required to serve 100 hours of community service under the plea deal. She could have been looking at up to five years in prison.

Sources: CBS News, The Big Story

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11Kaitlyn Hunt, Girl Charged For Dating Same-Sex Classmate, Offered Plea Deal

In May, we told you about Katelyn Hunt, the 18-year-old Florida teenager who was arrested and expelled from her high school for having a same-sex relationship with a 14-year-old at her school.

Although Hunt and her girlfriend had a consensual relationship, the younger girl’s parents did not approve of their daughter dating a girl. Since Hunt was 18, and technically dating a minor, the young girls parents decided to press charge against her. Hunt was charged with two misdemeanor counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12-16 years old, and one felony count of interfering with child custody. Many were enraged by the charges, calling them an abuse of legislation that is designed to protect children from sexual predators. After all, 18-year-old high school seniors from all across the country often date younger classmates.

After several months of inactivity, there’s an update on Hunt’s case today.

On Wednesday, Hunt’s 19th birthday, she was offered a plea deal from prosecutors. If Hunt pleads no contest to the three charges, she will not face jail time or be forced to register as a sex offender. Under the terms of the deal, Hunt would be placed on probation, have an 11 pm curfew for two years, and have to perform community service.  She must also agree never to contact the 14-year-old girl again.

Hunt has not decided on whether or not she will accept the deal, since doing so would admit wrongdoing on her behalf. The state attorney presiding over the case is encouraging Hunt to take the deal, saying it addresses both her concerns and the concerns of the younger girl’s family.

Hunt’s family and their legal team continue to dispute the charges.

“If this case involved a boy and girl, there would be no media attention to this case," her attorney Julia Graves said in a statement.”... If this incident occurred 108 days earlier when (Hunt) was 17, we wouldn't even be here."

In May, Hunt’s mother, Kelley Hunt Smith, said the reasons for the charges stem from same-sex relationship stigma, not from the age difference between the girls.

“They are out to destroy my daughter, because they feel like she ‘made’ their daughter gay,” Hunt Smith said. “They see being gay as wrong and they blame my daughter. Of course, I see it 100 percent differently. I don’t see or label these girls as gay. They are teenagers in high school experimenting with their sexuality – with mutual consent. And even if their daughter is gay, who cares? She is still their daughter.”

No trial date has been announced for the case at this time. If convicted of the charges, Hunt may face up to 15 years in prison. 

Sources: Opposing Views, Daily Mail, CNN

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11Jeffrey Bixby Pleads Guilty To Sexual Abuse Of A Girl, Gets No Jail Time As Part Of Plea Deal

A man charged with sexual abuse of a minor in Maryland has received a suspended 10-year sentence as part of a plea bargain.

Jeffrey Bixby admitted in court that he had “destroyed the faith and trust” that the girl and her family had placed with him through the acts that a prosecutor said occurred during the child’s visits during a four-year period to Bixby’s home.

The plea agreement was presented to a judge by a prosecutor brought in from Charles County and Bixby’s lawyer from Annapolis.

“This is what the family decided, and the judge and the prosecutor agreed,” said the girl’s mother this week of the plea deal, which included no active incarceration, according to Southern Maryland Newspapers Online.

“Our families were very close,” she added. “It was in the best interest of the children involved.”

The 54-year-old Bixby was charged with sexually abusing a friend of the family from 2003 to 2007. At that time the girl was between 6 and 10 years old. The victim helped the state develop charges by placing a recorded call to Bixby in which he implicated himself and apologized to her, reported The Bay Net.

Bixby would get into a shower with the girl, the prosecutor said at Friday’s hearing, and at other times, Bixby would unlawfully touch the girl with explanations that he “checked her for ticks” and played a “doctor game” with her.

“He explained he was a firefighter, and had to practice stuff for work,” said Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Tiffany Campbell during the proceeding held in a St. Mary’s courtroom.

St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Karen H. Abrams said during the hearing that she initially was reluctant to accept a plea agreement that includes no active incarceration, but that the girl would be spared “the anguish of a trial and the testimony” through the agreement.

The judge sentenced Bixby to a 10-year prison sentence, suspended on the condition that he register as a sex offender, continue counseling, have no unsupervised contact with any children younger than 16 and have no contact whatsoever with the girl and her family during three years of supervised probation.

A sentencing guidelines worksheet prepared by the prosecutor listed a guidelines range in Bixby’s case of 10 to 18 years in jail. The maximum penalty for sexual abuse of a minor is 25 years in prison.

Sources: Southern Maryland Newspapers Online, The Bay Net

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11Ariel Castro Accepts Deal Putting Him In Prison For ‘Not Less Than 1,000 Years’

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro has accepted a plea deal that guarantees he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

He agreed to a deal that will send him to prison for life plus "not less than 1,000 years" with no chance of parole. Castro was charged with abducting three women and keeping them as sex slaves for more than a decade.

"I'm fully aware and I do consent to it," Castro said, 52. "I knew I was pretty much going to get the book thrown at me.”

"You understand by accepting this plea, you're accepting life without parole," Judge Michael Russo asked Castro. "You'll never leave prison alive."

"Yes, I do," replied Castro, ABC News reported.

Castro had previously pleaded not guilty to nearly 1,000 counts of kidnapping, rape and other crimes.

The victims, Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus, were not planning on testifying at the trial.  

"Amanda, Gina, and Michelle are relieved by today's plea," said attorney Kathryn Joseph in a statement. "They are satisfied by this resolution to the case, and are looking forward to having these legal proceedings draw to a final close in the near future. They continue to desire their privacy."

It’s possible that if evidence of additional crimes is discovered, Castro could be indicted on future charges.

Castro had previously said he was "willing to work with FBI” and “tell them everything" about his crimes.

"I was a victim as a child and it just kept going," Castro said in court as some sort of explanation for his crimes. The judge quickly cut him off.

Sources: ABC News, Chicago Tribune

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11Wyoming Teen Alexis Jennings Admits To Poisoning Stepmother With Visine

19-year-old Wyoming resident Alexis Jennings pleaded no contest to an aggravated assault charge after being accused of poisoning her stepmother with Visine. She entered the plea on Thursday in state district court.

Jennings initially pleaded not guilty to the charge, but had a change of heart this week. In exchange for pleading guilty, prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of up to four years in the Wyoming Women's Center. Had she not taken the deal, Jennings could have faced 10 years in prison.

According to prosecutors, over the course of four months, Jennings put about 20 bottles of the popular eye drops in her stepmother's tea and coffee. This led to the stepmother being hospitalized twice with various ailments. On one of those occasions, the victim was hospitalized with decreased body temperature, stomach aches, swings in blood pressure, blurred vision, tremors and bleeding, reports the Daily Mail.

Jennings was reportedly poisoning her stepmother because she had revealed a secret about the teen to Jennings' then-boyfriend. The secret, apparently, was that she had molested a young girl.

After discovering a Web search history related to Visine poisonings on a computer at the house, the stepmother became suspicious. This led to Jennings being arrested. Officials said that the teen varied the dosage of the eye drops that she put into her stepmother’s beverages from as little as one-sixth of a bottle to as much as a quarter of a bottle. She got the idea for the scheme after reading a news story about someone doing something similar.

Jennings is being held on $25,000 bond and will be sentenced at a later date.

Source: (Daily Mail); (Casper-Star Tribune); (NorthJersey.com)

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11Ukranian Woman Renata Shamrakova Embezzled Almost $1 Million From Hedge Fund Boss

Renata Shamrakova admitted in Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday that she stole nearly $1 million while working as the personal assistant to hedge funder Todd Meister. She had initially denied the charges. Under the terms of her plea deal, she will avoid going go jail, but must repay what she took within two years.

When asked by the judge if she had committed grand larceny in the second degree by stealing from Meister, 28-year-old Shamrakova said, “Yes, your honor.”

Meister, 42, has insisted that he had nothing but a work relationship with Shamrakova. The young woman has been saying since her February 2012 embezzlement arrest that the stolen money had actually been “gifts” Meister gave her during the course of a workplace romance.

By owning up to the charges and securing a plea deal, Shamrakova averted a possible 15-year prison term. The actual amount that she must pay back is $821,000. It is believed that her parents will pay her debt by selling a chunk of upstate property, according to the NY Post.

Shamrakova committed identity theft by taking out two American Express cards in Meister’s name. She travelled to Aruba, Canada, India, Italy and France and also purchased thousands of pieces of jewelry that she sold for cash online. She would then pay off the credit card companies by writing checks using Meister’s JPMorgan account.

“I appreciate the hard work that the DA did in this case and their willingness to look at the facts,” Meister said. He added that he was grateful that “justice was served.”

Sources: (NY Post); (The Huffington Post)

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11Lindsay Lohan Strikes Last Minute Plea Deal

Lindsay Lohan may have been refusing a plea deal stemming from her car accident where she allegedly lied to the cops about being the driver up until now, but in the end she took the deal.

Lohan arrived to court 48 minutes late today after missing several flights to L.A. from New York. If she didn't make it to court, a bench warrant would have been issued for her arrest. While walking into court someone threw glitter on Lohan.

After a lot of back and forth negotiationg, prosecutors and Lohan's lawyers were able to strike a plea deal. As per the terms of the deal Lohan pled no contest to the crimes of reckless driving and lying to cops She will do 90 days in a rehab center and will not be able to leave. Lohan will also perform 30 days of community service and undergo psychotherapy for 18 months.

Although she dodged major jail time, Lohan will spend a mandatory 5 days in jail for reckless driving, but it's going to be rolled into the lockdown rehab so she will not actually be in prison. 

Lohan will be able to complete her rehab in N.Y. and will have to submit to random drug tests.

In addition, Lohan admitted to a probation violation in her jewelry theft case and was sentenced to 180 days in jail. However, the sentence was stayed and she will not serve the time if she obeys all laws.

The judge warned Lohan that this was her last chance, that if she appeared before the court again, he would impose her full sentence.

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